Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow Storm Fun

The Snow is going to be falling very soon in many parts of the country over the next 48hrs! The Chicagoland area is supposed to get anywhere from 10-20", depending on where you live in Chicagoland. I am thinking many kids will have a couple of snow days and will be "Snowed In". I am in the midst of preparing for being snowed in and planning things to do while snowed in and have a snow theme. I decided one of things to do was to create a "Snow Chart" so the boys and I can measure the snow as it is snowing! Our goal is once an hour on the hour!! I created a simple snow chart in WORD document and wanted to share it with you all:

Snow Watch 2011

Feel free to download it for your family and to share with friends and family!!

Stay Safe and Warm in the pending storm!!!

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Menu Plan Monday

I am very excited to see this week come, even it is going to be a wild and crazy week. Chicagoland is bracing for 18" to 25" of snow over the next 48hrs and our 6yr is having his tonsils removed on Thursday. I will need to do some major grocery shopping this week due to Circumstances Beyond our Control. I am very grateful we will be receiving our IL State Tax Refund check this week so I can do a major Pantry restock!

Here is our menu for the week:
(The words on the document in blue are clickable recipe links)
Weekly Menu Plan

For more great recipes and menu plans visit: Organizing Junkie

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Life Issues Trumped Progress

Well I didn't get much accomplished this weekend because life issues got in the way. I was sick on Saturday, "stay in my comfy chair all day" sick. Today, I went to clean and organize my pantry, which I thought would take me only 30 minutes or so, took me 3hrs. We had to throughly clean it and throw away about 1/3 of our pantry stuff due to "circumstances beyond our control". (I'll spare you all the details) Here are some before and after pics of the pantry.

Suffice to say: We will be doing some major stock up of pantry items this week and we will also be purchasing some containers to store our pasta, rice, beans, and cereal in. (I didn't take pics of the bottom area where we have our flour buckets and small appliances). I still have a box of food items to put back in, but I need to get storage containers for them first!

I think tomorrow(Monday 1/31) we are going to have a "Home Ec" day and "Responsibility Training" day for the boys. We will do some more house cleaning and teach them responsibility while doing so.

This week is a new week, although a busy week and a crazy week! I am going to make the best of it and try to get things accomplished!!

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Small progress, but nonetheless progress

I began my day all energized, feeling good and ready to tackle a few projects today. I was out the door at 7:15am to run to Wal-Mart for a few things for the house and some groceries. I also stopped at Walgreens to get a few sale items and some batteries. I got home around 8:30am. Had breakfast with the family and then checked email and other computer stuff.

I got to work in the kitchen around 11am. Washed the dishes, cleaned the counters down and then decided to tackle the upper cabinets. The cabinets tend to get very cluttered and never cleaned out. I know I will be going grocery shopping sometime in the next couple of days, so I figured I would get those cleaned out and ready for new stuff. I took some before and after pics of my work:

I was planning on cleaning our master bedroom also, although I hurt my left knee while working on the cabinets, by going up and down on the kitchen chair. I ended up sitting in my chair for the afternoon with my leg up on the ottoman.

I also did both our Federal and State Taxes online this afternoon, as we received our last form we were waiting on!! We are getting refunds from both! YEAH!

I hope to accomplish at least 3 major tasks tomorrow which would include some more cleaning and organizing and then some using some organizational tools online to get some more stuff accomplished!

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Consistency, Routine, and Perfectionism

Consistency, Routine, and Perfectionism= The 3 words that for me can get all rolled into one! I have always thrived on these 3 things and now my boys do also. I feel that if I am consistent and have a daily routine then all will be PERFECT. When things don't align as I would like then I get frazzled and upset, then the day just can go downhill from there. I am a "person of order, not of chaos" Chaos gets me so frazzled!!

My ideal day would be:
7am: Everyone up and getting dressed and making beds or doing some morning chores or helping with breakfast.
8am: Sitting down for breakfast and morning family devotionals.
8:45am: Clearing the table and getting ready for our school day.
9:00am Starting school for the day
11:45am  Breaking for lunch
12:15 Having lunch
1:00pm Finishing up any school stuff by 2pm
2:00pm Afternoon activities and FREE time
4:00pm Afternoon chores and help prep for dinner time
5:30pm Family Dinner Time
6:15pm Kitchen Clean Up
7:00pm Family Evening Time, Bath Time, etc.
8:30pm Boys are in bed for the evening
11pm All is quiet in the house

Does our day ever look like this?? NO!!! Many different things attribute to the lack of consistency and routine:
1) 2 of my boys have bad sleeping habits, they usually don't fall asleep until 11pm or later. Our youngest is actually getting his tonsils and adenoids removed next week because of heavy snoring and bad sleeping.
2) I am the only early riser in this family. All the "boys" in the house would sleep until noon if they were allowed, but I usually have them all awake by 9am.
3) My husband doesn't work until 2pm most days, so when "daddy" is home, the family tends to get off track.
4) I get distracted by phone calls and wanting to get a lot done while others are still sleeping. I don't focus on the right things.
5) Lack of motivation on some days
6) Lack of organization on some days (I am a clutter phobic and can't concentrate when things are disorganized)
7) "Sick Days" for one kid or another, gets things frazzled here.

I have decided I am not going to strive for Perfectionism as no one is perfect. I am going to reorganize and  strive for Consistency and better Routine here! I will be working on many things over the next 3 days and getting myself organized better so we can have the Consistency and Routine. I have the "Tools and Ideas" (oh trust me do I ever) I just need to get myself organized and lay it all out to the "boys". I think having our first ever "Family Meeting" on Sunday night is a very good idea!

A couple of my boys certainly have already taken after me with some of their "routines". They get frazzled and crazy if things are "not in order" or "things are not in place". For instance, we all have Certain Cups for Certain things and the boys know which is their cup for each purpose. The boys get quite upset if they are not given "their cup".  They thrive on routine and consistency, so I need to work on getting us back into a steady routine.

No one is PERFECT and "My Perfect Day" will never happen. God's plan will always happen no matter how much anyone tries to "avoid" it! God's plan is why we always have to allow for flexibility in our life. I have lots of flexibility for "daily interruptions that is for sure. I do know how to prioritize and organize, sometimes it is just a matter of actually doing both of those!

So I proclaim that I am going to work hard to get things organized so that our days run much smoother and are "days of order, not chaos". I will be posting my progress and the tools I use to help achieve this!! Of course prayer will be the first tool I use and put into action!!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Works for Me Wednesday

I am usually a very organized person and don't normally forget a lot of things. Although, within the last year or so, I have had lots more activities, life happenings and more on my plate and I had begun to forget many things. I needed something that would remind me of appointments, activities, and more via email. I began looking online for something of the sort and came across SpringPad. I signed up and became a "member" about 10 months ago and then never used the service. I kept allowing myself to forget and not be organized. I was still receiving emails and I follow SpringPad on Twitter, so about 2 months ago I  discovered they had changed things up a bit and also added an app in the Android market!! Woohoo! I quickly visited the site again, added the app to my Android phone and now I am on my road to not being forgetful! Not to worry if you don't have a "Smartphone" because it is still web based and as long as you have internet and email access you can make great use of SpringPad. 

I really like the layout, the ease of use, the simplicity of the site(not too many "add ons"), the ability to share "my stuff" with others, the email reminder alerts, and the "Notebooks". I also like that I can save/bookmark websites of interest. The Notebook feature allows me to have "notebooks" for different topics, projects or upcoming events. For instance, I have a Recipe Notebook that I have either typed recipes saved or recipes that I find online in that Notebook. I can access the recipes from my Smartphone when cooking and no need to print them out!

I use Chrome browser and there is an "extension" that makes adding things to your account very easy! In All browsers you have the "SpringPad Clipper" that is installed on your browser toolbar for adding things to your account! 

You can see How SpringPad Works and also the great Features!! Check out the SpringPad Blog written by Katin for some great info on the updates and features and tutorials on how to use SpringPad! Also, here is a post from another blogger who compares Springpad to other services and explains why SpringPad was his choice!!

SpringPad has endless options and possibilities on helping you organize your life, your schedule, your household, your job and much more! SpringPad works for me and I hope it would work for you!!

For more great hints and tips visit Kristen over at We are THAT Family.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook 1/25

Outside my window...  Gloomy and dark outside. It is going to be cold day. 

I am thinking...  I need to get moving here. I have to run a couple of errands this morning and want to get it done as soon as possible.

I am thankful for... all the blessings that God provides for our family!

I am wearing... My Pj's, a pants and long sleeve shirt set.

I am remembering...  That it is a joy and honor to be a wife to my wonderful DH and a mother to my 3 energetic, wonderful boys! 

I am creating... Nothing! I have ideas in my mind, but my hands aren't doing the work. LOL

I am going... I have to run to Fort Pitt Furniture today. Fort Pitt Furniture is a Hotel Liquidator store. They get furniture from hotels who are remodeling their rooms. Hotels usually remodel every 2-4 yrs, so the furniture is in excellent condition. They sell the furniture and TV's and more for very very good prices! Looking for a TV for my niece.

I am reading.... lots of good books from the library. Check out my sidebar for my reading list. Also,doing some blog reading today.

I am hoping... that we can work together as a family today and get the toy room and boys bedroom in order! 3 boys, 2 rooms=MESSY. I am so "clutter phobic" that I can function when things are MESSY!

On my mind... Cleaning and organizing! I know once we get started it will be one of those situations where "It looks worse then it is". 

From the learning rooms...
 Doing our regular studies this week!

Noticing that...
 I haven't been as congested during these cold months like I normally am each year. I think it is because our apartment is very warm and keeping my nose dry.

Pondering these words...
 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. -- Ecclesiastes 10:12

From the kitchen...
  Here is our Menu Plan for 1/23-1/29  Today I am going to also be making Crockpot Triple Chocolate Cake

Around the house...
 Today is "Get the house cleaned Day". We never got around to the Toy Room and Boys Room last week, it needs to get done TODAY!

One of my favorite things~   
 GoodReads.  GREAT site! I love it!

I really like that I can rate the books, write reviews and give my opinion of books. I can list what I am currently reading and then change the status once I finish that book. Also, if your friend rates a book that seems to interest you, you can "add to your list" if you want to read it in the future.  My Good Reads Page. If you sign up or already a member, friend me and I will friend you back! 

A few plans for the rest of the week:  This week is a very slow week. We have AWANA/Mid week activities Wednesday night at church. Church this coming Sunday, but nothing else much going on!

A picture to share:

"My 3 Sons" with their Tomahawk

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Welcome back to another edition of Menu Plan Monday. We are having a "use what we already have week" and I don't have much grocery shopping to do because of that. Here is our menu plan for the week:
(The words on the document in blue are clickable recipe links)

Weekly Menu Plan

For more great recipes and menu plans visit: Organizing Junkie

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

We have a Winner!! Chex Party Mix Pack Giveaway!!

Thank You to everyone who participated in the Chex Party Mix Pack Giveaway. We have a winner!

I used to select the winner and it was:

3.   Best Blogger Tips

Follow you on Google Friend Connect.

CONGRATULATIONS to our winner!

Keep watching the blog more giveaways to come soon!

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Social Networking for Book Lovers

Do you enjoy reading and want to connect with other "Book Lovers"? Yes, there is Facebook, Twitter and Message Boards, although your "book loving" friends can get mixed in with your other friends and some "messages" might get lost! 

Well, there are a few "Social Networks" specifically for Book Lovers! "Friend" others who have the same interests as you, learn about new books or books and authors you may have never heard of from your friends lists! You can also form online book clubs within your network of friends! 

My personal favorite is GoodReads. I really like that I can rate the books, write reviews and give my opinion of books. I can list what I am currently reading and then change the status once I finish that book. Also, if your friend rates a book that seems to interest you, you can "add to your list" if you want to read it in the future.  My Good Reads Page. If you sign up or already a member, friend me and I will friend you back! 

My second favorite is Shelfari. Shelfair allows you to Create a virtual shelf to show off your books. Connect with your friends. Discover exciting new titles. Shelfari is similar to GoodReads, although I do like the Virtual Shelf of my books that Shelfari offers.  My Shelfari Page. Come on over and find me and I will respond back! 

Library Thing is another site for book lovers. It is more of a "virtual book shelf" then social networking. You can add friends and connect on Library Thing, but not as much as with Good Reads and Shelfari. It is an excellent resource for keeping a listing of all your books that you own. My Library Thing Page 

PaperBackSwap is an online book swapping network. Don't let the name fool you though, you can also swap hard cover books. You can learn How to Swap books and earn your first 2 credits for your first 2 books! If you request a book, it is sent to you FREE of charge, sender pays postage. If you send out a book, you pay postage! You can re swap once you are done reading the book, or you can keep it on your bookshelf! 

Reading is "fun"damental and I love, love, love reading! 

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Book Review: FEARLESS by Max Lucado

Book Summary: 

Are you a constant worrier? Always thinking the worst possible thing can happen at any given moment? Do you ever hem and haw on making decisions because you don't want to "make the wrong decision? Do you ever wonder how secure is my job with others being laid off in my department? This is all based on FEAR, fear of the unknown that lies ahead. Fearless by Max Lucado will help you through 13 of the most common fears of Christians with a Biblical perspective.  

My Thoughts and Review: 

I have always been a fan of and this book was no different. Max Lucado does an amazing job at describing the common fears of Christians and backing them up with scripture. I am always filled with FEAR for many different reasons, but FEARLESS by Max Lucado has begun to help me change my FEARs into leaning and trusting onto God. I recite Proverbs 3:5-6 when the FEAR begins to invade my thoughts and know that God is in control. My favorite part of the book is how Max Lucado helps remind us of being PEACEFUL with his 8 Worry Stoppers.

1) Pray First
2) Easy Now. Slow Down
3) Act on it. Become a Worry Slapper 
4) Compile a Worry List
5) Evaluate Your Worries 
6) Focus on Today
7) Unleash a Worry Army 
8) Let God be Enough 

I highly recommend this book for everyone because we all have FEAR in our life. FEARLESS will help you overcome the "what if's" and instead focus on the "what wills"!! 

For more information on the book, the author, to read the first chapter of the book, read other reviews of this book and where you can purchase a copy of this book: 

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of the BookSneeze  program. My opinions of the products are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Review: Rex by Cathleen Lewis

Book Summary: 

Rex is a story written by the mother of an 11yr old blind and autistic boy. His mother tells the story of his amazing musical ability and her journey along with him during the struggles, the joys, the happiness and all that the wonderful road of life brings them through. 

My Thoughts and Review:

I received this book thinking it was going to be a "just another memoir", but as I began reading the book, I knew it was much more then that. The author, Cathleen Lewis, draws you into the story about her son and all that they have both endured since he was born blind and soon after discovering he was autistic. The kind of struggles that Rex endured would and could and did, only be help up by a mom with a never ending love for her son, like Cathleen had. She never gave up and she kept going so that her son could have a fulfilling life, one that many thought would never be possible with his "inabilities". Rex is able to overlook the word "inabilities" and become a musical wonder. 

Rex is just not a book about a mother's love to help her son, it is about a mother's journey to discover the deep love of God. She draws closer to God through all the struggles. 

Rex is a must read for everyone. I really enjoyed the book. I think is a testimony to many that no matter the circumstances that God can give you in life, if you draw close to him he will be your guide and help you overcome. 

For more information on the book, the author, to read the first chapter of the book, read other reviews of this book and where you can purchase a copy of this book: Rex by Cathleen Lewis

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of the BookSneeze  program. My opinions of the products are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.

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Book Review: Still House Pond

Book Summary from Publishers Website(Tyndale House):
Lilly Gray Corbett loves living on Troublesome Creek, but she would much rather play with her best friend than watch her little brother and the twins. Her mama, Copper, is often gone helping to birth babies, and Lilly has to stay home. When Aunt Alice sends a note inviting her to visit in the city, Lilly is excited to go, and Copper reluctantly agrees to let her. Later, when they hear the news that the train crashed, Copper and her husband, John, rush to find out if their daughter is injured . . . or even alive.

My Thoughts and Review: 
Still House Pond is book number 5 in the Troublesome Creek series by Jan Watson. The book is historical fiction and based in 1896. This was the first book in this series that I have read and Jan Watson was a "new to me author". 

I really enjoyed this book, even though at first is was difficult to follow along with the many cast of characters. Cooper, who is Lily's mother, was a very interesting character, who gets into many interesting situations while delivering babies all over town. The family's faith is tested time and again through many difficult situations of Cooper's. Also, during the time that they are all searching for Lily who is feared dead in the train wreckage.  During the time the family is searching for Lily, she is locked up in a old building on the property of Isa Still, who is the owner of the pond where Lily had taken a walk to instead of boarding the train. During this time of being locked up, Lily begins to discover things about herself. She was able to reflect and ponder and it helped her realize a few things that she didn't really know. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book, because it is during times of trials in my own life, that I tend to "discover" things about myself and begin to make changes for the better. 

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the series from the beginning! Reading Still House Pond made me think of Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie. For me though, this book really hit the spot because I saw so much of me in Lily! 

Info about the author: 
Jan Watson is an award winning author whose first novel Troublesome Creek  won the 2004 Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest. She has continued to win awards for her novels since then.  Jan was a registered nurse for 25 years at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. She incorporated her nursing experience in the hospital's mother/baby unit into her novels. Jan resides in Kentucky. 

For more information on the book, the author, to read the first chapter of the book and where you can purchase a copy of this book: Still House Pond 

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers as part of the Tyndale Blog NetworkMy opinions of the products are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.

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Chex Party Mix Pack Giveaway!!

I was provided a Chex Party Mix for myself  and one for one lucky reader of this blog. This giveaway is sponsored by General Mills via MyBlogSpark.

Most people associate Chex Party Mix as a holiday time or football game snack, but it really is an "anytime" snack! There are so different ways to make a "Chex Party Mix", making it can and should be an anytime of the year snack.  The recipes usually take 15 minutes or less to make, many ingredients are basic pantry ingredients. My boys and I made one of the recipes today from the back of the Rice Chex Mix box we received in the Gift Pack. Chex Muddy Buddies was our recipe of choice and not only was it easy and fun to make, it is also very tasty!

Here is a slideshow of pictures from our kitchen time today:

We now have our afternoon snack for today and for a couple of days! Ohh so yummy!

Would you like to win a Chex Party Mix Gift Pack like the one I received?? The tote bag is a zippered bag and will hold a lot of groceries or make a nice beach bag or "whatever" bag! The cereal box is 12.8oz.

Ways to Enter:
Mandatory Entry:  Check out all the great Chex Party Mix Recipes and come back and comment on which one is your favorite as an "anytime" snack. 

Additional Entries: 
1) Follow Me via Google Friends Connect or Networked Blogs. 
   Leave a comment below on how you follow. (1 Entry) 
2) Subscribe to my blog via email or RSS Feed. (1 Entry)
3) Blog about this giveaway and submit link in the 
    comment section.  (1 entry)
4) Follow me on Twitter and tweet this giveaway.  
    Please use the hashtag #myblogspark.  
    Leave a link the in comment section 
    (1 entry per tweet/2 tweets per day)
5) Share on Facebook and copy link in comment section. 

    (1 entry per day)

This giveaway will end on Saturday January 22nd at 11:59PM CST. The winner will be randomly selected and will have 36hrs to reply to winner notification. 

This giveaway and review is sponsored by MyBlogSpark and General Mills. I have received no compensation except for the Prize Pack pictured above. My opinions of the products are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Passing on the Joy of Reading and Libraries

I Love to Read! Pictures, Images and Photos

I have always enjoyed reading since I was very little and now my 8yr old has been enjoying reading as much as I do for the last 3 yrs since he began reading. He is in the 3rd grade, but can read at a 7th grade level or above! 

The joy of reading really does get passed down from generation to generation and I am very glad! My mom is an avid reader, her mom was an avid reader, my mom's grandfather was an avid reader. I have quite a few aunts and cousins on my dad's side who are avid readers.  

One of my favorite memories as a child was meeting Peggy Parish, author of Amelia Bedelia books. I loved Peggy Parish as an author.I won a contest at our local library and was attended a "Meet the Author" event at the Chicago Cultural Center. My other favorite authors as a child were Beverly Clearly, Judy Blume. I had a couple of favorite series books that I liked. Girls of Canby Hall by Emily Chase was my very favorite series. I also liked Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal. I also enjoyed Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy mystery books. 

My love for books hasn't changed over the years, but the genres and topics I like to read has. 
My Favorite Genres of books are:
Frugal Living, Christian Fiction, Christian Non-Fiction, Homeschooling, Family Living, Cookbooks, Auto Biographies

My Favorite Authors are:
Elizabeth George, Tracie Peterson, Jonni McCoy, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Tamera Alexendar, Devin Alexendar,(Biggest Loser Chef) Ellie Kay, Chip Ingram, Colleen Coble, Joy Bauer,(nutritionist author), Catherine Palmer, Hannah Keeley,(homeschooling mom of 10 with great tips on organizing a home), Sandra Lee(Food Network). 

There are course many more, but those are just few of my favorite. 

Reading books has really evolved over the last 5-6 years due to technology. Audio books on MP3 players, the surge of e-readers, e-reader apps for smartphones and computers or tablets. These are all "nice' but I myself continue to enjoy "old fashioned" hard or paperback books. Although, my boys just did get MP3 players for Christmas and my 7yr old son has vision issues that has prevented from learning how to read yet. I am going to be downloading some audio books for him in the near future. 

Weekly trips to the Berwyn Public Library are a family favorite activity for us! My boys all have a backpack that is their designated "library bag". I signed them each up for their first library card as soon as they turned 4yrs old. They are allowed to take 6 DVD's and 15 books out at a time on their cards, per the rules I set for them. They keep their backpacks in the coat closet when they are not reading books for there. I just purchased a Cubby Hole Bookcase that we will use for our library books, as soon as my hubby puts it together. Our local library is part of the Metropolitan Library System, which gives us access to over 80 libraries. We can use the SWAN Online Catalog to look for and reserve books from all over the system. I have taught my boys how to use the system to check for books of interest and how reserve them so they can be transferred to our local library. My 8yr old, Joshua, does this very often. I of course can go into his record and delete ones that I feel are not appropriate  or ones we don't want them reading. I have only had to do this to about 3 books of my sons. He is very good about adhering about selecting books that we approve of. I have also taught my boys the The Dewey Decimal System. Even though gone are the days of "card catalogs", I think it is still important for my boys to know how to use a library correctly. Our family really enjoys visiting libraries that are part of the Metropolitan Library System. We have about 20 or so within a 10 mile radius of our apartment. Our favorite branch outside of our local branch is the Oak Lawn Library. They have many, many books from my favorite genres of books. We usually visit the Oak Lawn Library about every 6 weeks. This is where I check out the majority of my books. I start working on my list a few days before hand by searching the online library to see if they carry the books I am interested in and then creating a list via the online "list maker" the SWAN system has. Once I create a list, I can print it our or email it to myself. The Oak Lawn library has a very nice Children's library section. They have about 4 computers with kids games on them. The boys and my hubby stay in that section while I take my list and go select the books that I am wanting to check out. We are usually there about an hour! The boys and I will visit many of the libraries in the system and just spend time at the library on days when it is gloomy or cold outside or nothing much else to do! The City of Chicago has an awesome main branch: Harold Washington Library. I spent a lot of time there when I was in college. It has 9 floors, with one entire floor dedicated to being a Children's Library. I have taken the boys there, but when they were really young. We are going to take a "field trip" there soon! Living in the Chicagoland area, libraries are all over the place. I love the fact that even though we live in a suburb of Chicago, we can have a Chicago Public Library card. Likewise, those who live in the city can have a suburban library card. 

My son Joshua reading: 


Joshua's Reading "area" when not on floor:


My "Reading Chair" in our front room:


The "board" on the chair is my DIY LapDesk. I still use this desk daily when reading because even with the surgery, my gripping motion isn't fully there and holding a book for too long becomes painful on the right wrist.  I have Sterlite tote on the far left with the books that are going to be read in the near future. Those are always rotating as I finish books. I have my phone charging next to me most of the time. I have a enlarged wooden "pencil holder" that I use a "cup holder" so I don't accidently bump my cup down and cause a spill. I am going to be getting a different but similar chair in a couple of months. My dad found me this chair and ottoman on Craigslist for FREE, but it is getting dirty and not so comfy. I will be going to Fort Pitt Furniture as soon as I save up about $75 and get me a new set there!

I like to end my days with a cup of tea or hot cocoa and reading a book. I can usually read a book within 2 days. My son Joshua has started doing the same by reading about 30 minutes before bed or just when he gets in bed.

I am so glad that the love of reading and libraries has been passed down through the generations from my family and I am very glad to be passing it down to my boys!!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Simple Womans Daybook


Outside my window...
  Gloomy and dark outside. Looks like a bit of Wintry Mix. 

I am thinking... about taking a small nap when my hubby gets home. I didn't sleep well last night and could use about a 30 minute recharge. 

I am thankful for...
 having an Aldi's across the street from my apartment. It was very convenient today when I needed something for dinner prep. The boys and I were able to walk across and get what I needed and not have to wait on hubby.

I am wearing... Grey Jogging pants and a T-shirt.  (house clothes)

I am remembering...
  family and friends whom I haven't seen in a while.

I am creating...
 Nothing! I don't have any creative juices flowing right now. LOL

I am going...
 nowhere today. Staying in and staying warm.

I am reading...
. lots of good books from the library. Check out my sidebar for my reading list.

I am hoping...
 for God's provision for our family! The rising prices of everything are hurting our budget.

On my mind...
 not much. Just want to reorganize some things in my life.

From the learning rooms...
 Doing our regular studies this week!

Noticing that...
 my wrist has been very very stiff as of lately.

Pondering these words...
 Proverbs 31:20  She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

From the kitchen...
  Here is our Menu Plan for 1/16-1/22

Around the house...
 We are trying to get our house reorganized and decluttered. We have done most rooms, just have toy room and boy's bedroom to finish. 1 room a day is the best way for us.

One of my favorite things~   
 SugarSync.  GREAT site! I love it!

The great features of SugarSync include: 
  1. Online Backup
  2. Multi-Computer Sync
  3. Remote Access
  4. Mobile Phone Access
  5. Music and Photos
  6. Sharing
  7. Data Security
Check out all the great features in full detail here: SugarSync Features 

A few plans for the rest of the week:  This week is a slow week. We have AWANA/Mid week activities Wednesday night at church. Thursday and Friday are going to be extremely cold days, so we will stay in and do some baking. Saturday my hubby is attending SoxFest in downtown Chicago!

A picture to share:

Are you a blogger? Go on over to the  Simple Woman's Daybook and join the blogging and read what others are doing!

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I really enjoy menu planning and finding new recipes and Menu Plan Monday really helps in that area. Last week I mentioned how much menu planning is a must for my family. I wrote a post last week about My favorite Recipe Sites and Tools to further expand on that.

Here is our menu plan for this week. The words on the document in blue are clickable recipe links:

Weekly Menu Plan 1/16-1/22

For more great recipes and menu plans visit: Organizing Junkie

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Free Homeschool Resources

I love FREE things of all kinds,especially educational FREEBIES! I am going to share with you some of my favorite Homeschooling Resources that are FREE.

Full Curriculum FREEBIES: 

Lesson Pathways is a 100% FREE online lesson planner helper. It covers grades K-5.  

From their website:
We’ve found the very best online lessons, projects, games, and activities for K-5 students and we’ve assembled them into ready-to-teach, weekly topic units.  Sign up now to take advantage of everything Lesson Pathways has to offer:  over 900 FREE weekly topic units; pre-screened, high quality, online resources; and an easy-to-use Planner, allowing you to customize your child’s curriculum or supplement.

I have been using Lesson Pathways as a supplement to our curriculum since August of ’09, I love it and my boys love the plans we use from there also! 

Lesson Pathways can be used as an entire curriculum for your homeschool or it can be used to supplement your curriculum!! The best part is that it is FREE!

Ambleside Online is another FREE resource.I have known about this resource for a long while.  I have never used it, but have recently been looking at it to start using it fully or partially. 

From their website:
A free homeschool curriculum designed to be as close as possible to the curriculum that Charlotte Mason used in her own private and correspondence schools. Our goal is to be true to Charlotte Mason's high literary standards. Ambleside Online uses the highest quality books and costs no more than the cost of texts. The curriculum uses as many free online books as possible, and there is no cost to use this information or join the support group.

Old Fashioned Education is similar to Ambleside Online, although it is laid out by subject rather then grade. 

Head of the Class is a FREE online program for K-4th. They will be adding 5th grade in the next couple of weeks and then 6-8th during 2011. We have been using Head of the Class for "Fun Learning" and supplement learning here and there. The boys enjoy it so much, they don't even know they are learning sometimes. 

Letter of the Week is a great program for those ages 3-6. She has many levels and programs and has recently expanded her curriculum to include other programs for older kids. 

Hubbards Cupboard is a Christian based program for Pre-K and Kindergarten. She also has some things for kids up to 4th grade.

Individual Subjects and Worksheet Sites:

Spelling City is our favorite Spelling curriculum website. We have been using it for 2 yrs and it really works for us. Joshua, my 3rd grader, is doing 7th grade spelling words this year and excelling.

Progressive Phonics is a FREE reading program. I have used this site with Nathan, my 2nd grader for a couple of years. He is finally beginning to learn how to read. He has a vision issue that has prevented him from learning. He finally got bi-focals 4 months ago and has been progressing nicely.

Raising Refounders is a FREE American History course for grades 3-12. Lots of printables and unit studies. We are going to begin using this in the fall.

Starfall is a great online, audio based phonics program. It really helped a couple of my boys learn to read and it is a fun "Game" while learning.

School Express has lots of printables and Themed Unit Studies for all ages.

Learning Page has lots of unit studies and printables also.

Worksheet Works is my favorite Worksheet printable website!! It really has lots of great worksheets for all subjects.

Homeschool Launch  is a community based website. Community Members upload printables and worksheets that they have created. It is FREE to join and FREE to print. There are subject based printables as well as household printables and more!

FREE Downloads and Products:

Homeschool Freebie of the Day lists a different product or resource every day M-F. If you subscribe to their newsletter, you will get a "heads up" email on Sunday afternoon that lists all the resources for the upcoming week and a subscriber only link or product. Lots of awesome freebies here!

Currclick has a newsletter that is sent out on Mondays that includes a FREE product of the week.  Currclick also sends out additional emails every so often, has a special freebie events around holidays and more. There is also a Free Stuff section that has over 400 FREE products all the time!

Homeschooling does not have to be expensive, matter of fact, it can cost very little or be FREE if you have the right resources available!

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